Lewisham Children & Family Centre

HALF TERM VACCINATION DRIVE LAUNCHED IN LEWISHAM

HALF TERM VACCINATION DRIVE LAUNCHED IN LEWISHAM TO KEEP YOUNG PEOPLE IN SCHOOL AND COLLEGE AND PROTECT EDUCATION 

  • The Department for Education and the NHS is urging 12-17 year olds in Lewisham to get fully vaccinated this half term to protect them from COVID-19 and help keep their education on track.
  • Just 35.6% of 12-15 year olds and 44.4% of 16-17 year olds in Lewisham are vaccinated with their first dose.
  • Secondary schools are seeing high Covid-related absence rates, with 3.1% of secondary school pupils absent in Lewisham according to latest published figures

Parents in Lewisham are being urged by the NHS and the Department for Education to get their children, aged 12-17, up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccinations are key to protecting young people from the impact of COVID-19 and helping to protect their education from further disruption, keeping their learning on track.

The drive comes as Lewisham has one of the lowest vaccination rates in England with just 35.6% of 12-15 year olds vaccinated with the first dose and 44.4% of 16-17 year olds. The national average for first doses in England is 54.6% for 12-15 year olds and 66.9% for 16-17 year olds.

COVID-19 remains highly infectious and it continues to cause disruption to education with absence rates remaining high. Latest available local figures show 3.1% of pupils were absent from secondary school in Lewisham due to COVID-19 on 16 December.

Vaccinating 12-17-year-olds can help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 within schools and colleges, lowering the chance of catching it, and the need to take time-off to recover from any illness, or in some cases, to recuperate from long COVID.

To help students who have missed out on classroom learning because of Covid prepare for exams this summer, it’s more important than ever to maximise their time in college and school so they have support with learning and revision. Having a COVID-19 vaccine also helps to reduce the risk of missing out on additional opportunities like school trips, plays, sports matches and cultural activities that benefit wider development.

With school attendance known to significantly boost wellbeing and reduce anxiety, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 also can help benefit young people’s mental health and welfare.

The government has made it as easy as possible to get a vaccine, including through ‘grab a jab’ pop-up vaccine sites across the country in locations such as football stadiums, at festivals, and in shopping centres.

  • Get your vaccinations either by booking an appointment or finding a walk-in centre (Many 12-15 year olds can also wait to receive their COVID-19 vaccination in school next term). University Hospital Lewisham and Lewis Grove Pharmacy in Lewisham have bookable slots this half term for 12-17 year olds, for more options, including walk-ins, visit nhs.uk/covid-vaccine-children

Young people who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 need to wait 12 weeks after testing positive for Covid before they can get vaccinated but they are encouraged to book as soon as they can.

In recognition of the challenges students have faced during the pandemic the Department for Education has recently announced a range of adaptations to exams this summer, including the provision of advanced information for most GCSEs, AS and A levels, to help students target revision so they can do themselves justice in their exams this summer.

 

Robin Walker, Schools Minister said:

“As we recover from the pandemic, time out of the classroom creates wasted opportunities and can have real costs for pupils and their prospects. Maximising time in school and college is important not only for students’ academic attainment and wider wellbeing, but especially crucial for those preparing for exams or assessments.

“Vaccines will help protect young people from COVID-19 and help prevent further disruption to learning. I urge secondary school and college students to get their jabs as soon as possible to stop Covid getting in the way of their education.”

 

Dr Catherine Mbema, Director of Public Health, Lewisham Borough Council said:

“So many of our children and young people in Lewisham have missed out on their learning as a result of COVID-19 infection or isolation. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against COVID-19, and so getting our children vaccinated is the best way to keep them safe and not miss school. Half-term is an ideal time for many parents and carers to get their children vaccinated.

A range of walk-in clinics offer the vaccine to anyone aged 12 or over. These include Lewisham Hospital and Lewis Grove Pharmacy – and a pop-up clinic on Saturdays in Lewisham Shopping Centre. For details of opening times, please search online for ‘SEL vaccine’.”

Sue Baldwin, Regional Schools Commissioner, East of England and North-East London said:

“Many children and young people in London have had their education disrupted during the pandemic.  With mocks and exams coming up next term, it is vital for their wellbeing and academic attainment that they use half term to make sure they are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations to reduce the risk of further disruption to their learning.

“The more we can do to make sure our children and young people can go to school and college to continue to learn and have fun with their classmates, the better their attainment and the happier they will be.

“Vaccines can help protect young people in schools and colleges from COVID-19 and help to prevent further disruption to education.  I urge parents of 12-17 year olds to use February half term to get vaccinated.”

 

NHS consultant paediatrician and TV presenter Dr Ranj said:

“Keeping children and young people in education without disruption is vital to support our children’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. We know that if everyone does their bit and enough people, adults and children, are vaccinated, we can drive down rates of coronavirus across education settings. Vaccination gives our children and young people the best possible chance of success.”

  • Get your vaccinations either by booking an appointment or finding a walk-in centre (Many 12-15 year olds can also wait to receive their COVID-19 vaccination in school next term). University Hospital Lewisham and Lewis Grove Pharmacy in Lewisham have bookable slots this half term for 12-17 year olds, for more options, including walk-ins, visit nhs.uk/covid-vaccine-children
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